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Faking Perfection

12th April 2013

“I feel worthless.”

“Everyone is better than me.”

“Why is everyone else more confident than me?”

I think it’s easier to feel more worthless now than maybe any other time in our history. We are bombarded with so many altered airbrushed images of perfection which distorts a realistic perception of reality. Social media and television keeps showing us people who are apparently living “that dream life,” and we will naturally compare ourselves with what we see and this can make us feel very bad indeed.  As most people wear masks hiding their inner struggles, we get to see their masks of confident perfection which make us question what we are doing wrong.  That frantic search for answers can cause a lot of problems as it can take over someones thought patterns and become an obsession as they pick at themselves.

“How did they get to be so happy?” One client told me. “I’m such a failure!”

“Are they really happy?” I asked.

“Everyones seems happier than I am, so together and confident, I just feel so awful inside, nervous and I just want to get out of there.”

“I bet if you asked the people you are comparing yourself with how they really feel, you would be surprised at the answers.  Most people I know, no matter how they appear in the outside have their own issues and struggles going on inside, they just don’t show it.

We live in a world where we have to compare ourselves with everyone around us, we might be aware of it consciously or it’s happening subconsciously.  If you are being exposed to people who seem to be perfect in various areas of their lives to you then you will naturally compare and wonder what you are doing wrong. The hidden secret really is that they worry too, some less than others but everyone wants to feel important, loved and relevant and if anything risks that then anxiety can begin to kick in.

In a world where perfection is being touted as reality and with no-one being able to reach it no matter how they appear, it’s a horrible trap to get caught up in if you believe that you can reach those unrealistic levels of happiness, body shape, career moves, relationships etc.  The problem is that we are literally bombarded with unrealistic concepts of life and have fallen for the idea that is reality.  It hurts when you realise that you cannot reach them to be live “everybody else,” when realistically no-one is as they appear anyway.”

The answer for this client was to come back down to earth to be more grounded we used some therapies to bring back out of the mind forgotten strengths and resources. They began to see themselves differently and through a few self realisations, found that they could let go of the self perfection trap and focus on the most important things in life which helped them become more relaxed with life.

Life’s too short to believe that the masks we all wear to appear one way are real. We all struggle inside in various areas and that’s ok. We cannot be perfect in anything so there is no point trying. I embrace not being good enough as simply a reminder to change what I can and let go of what I can’t.  My clients can learn that too.

The Life Doctor is Paul Sheppard based in Brighton and Hove and available for therapy sessions online or in person.

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